Gunner, Football Hero

Last updated Monday, December 27, 2010

Author: James E. Ransome
Date of Publication: 2010
ISBN: 0823420531
Grade Level: 2nd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Nov. 2010

Synopsis: So what if Gunner is rounder than most football players? He throws a stellar pass! When he becomes third-string quarterback on his Pee Wee Football team, he fears he won't ever get to take the field. But in the championship game his team's luck runs out, and it is up to Gunner to lead them to victory. Will his awesome arm save the game? James Ransome's illustrations add humor and life to this unusual story about sportsmanship.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Who likes football? Have you ever played football?
•  Do you watch American football? Do you have a favorite team?
•  Do you know what the quarterback does?
•  What other sports do you like playing?
•  Are there any sports you like playing, but not watching - or watching, but not playing?
•  Ask the girls what kind of sports they like to play.

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Why did no one let Gunner play?
•  Was that fair?
•  Why do you think Gunner's parents let him play football even though they didn't like it?
•  Is there anything you have been good at that other people haven't let you done for no good reason?
•  Why do you think his teammates are happy, even though they lost?

Craft ideas:
•  Here is how to make the paper footballs:
1) Fold a 8 by 11 in sheet of paper in half lengthwise.
2) Cut along the folded line making 2 tall strips 4 in wide by 11 in tall.
3) Place one of the halves vertically in front of you and fold the lower right corner up and left into a triangle.
4) Continue folding triangles up the paper until you reach the top.
5) Tuck the extra paper at the into the pocket, you can trim the end for a better fit. Thats it! Now you have a paper football!

Repeat steps 3-5 for your second football. This process will create two footballs per sheet of paper.
•  Or check out finger football at

Special activities:
•  Vocabulary: Quarterback, Third-String, Cleats, Sack, Spiral, Wide Received, Touchdown, Tight End, Punt, Pass, Offense, Interception and Coach.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!